When Should You Dance Like Gene Kelly?

When It Rains, DanceA child laughs around 300 times a day; an adult, just fifteen.  That is a shocking fact!  And it may go at least some way to explaining why we all feel so much more stress as we grow older.


Stress is a killer.  It is linked to heart disease, stroke and is implicated as a contributory factor in cancer, Alzheimer’s and other serious illnesses.  Yet one stress buster is so easily available. 


Laughter.


Laughter is a natural antidote to stress because in the moment when you are laughing, your brain experiences a natural boost of feel good endorphins, which help give you a more optimistic outlook and act to reduce your stress hormone levels. You physically relax and that improves your mood still further.


Happy people laugh more.  People who laugh more are happier.  It is a self fulfilling cycle.  And just as your experience of stress is what you perceive it to be, so happiness is largely a decision.  You can just decide to be happy. 


 “If you want to be happy, be” (Leo Tolstoy)


So why is it that more people do not make the most of this natural form of stress relief?  Have adults simply forgotten how to laugh?


One of my own theories is that, unless sullied by adults, children look for the good in the world.  They look for fun and seek delight.  They enjoy the moment and laugh at the smallest thing.  And they make others happy too.


“Whoever is happy will make others happy too” (Anne Frank)


And yet as people grow older, they see more of the world that dismays them.  They stop looking for the good in everything.  They stop living in the moment and start living a “jam tomorrow lifestyle.”  They become sarcastic and critical.  They live as if it is a crime to be happy.


If you have fallen into this rut, and who has not from time to time, recognise that you are in a rut.  It is not always easy to climb out and become happier because that means you have to change your mindset.  But if you want to be happier, laugh more and be less stressed, changing your mindset is exactly what you have to do.  So decide to do it.


Start small.  Be grateful for what you have in life.  Tell your loved ones that you love them.  Download my free ebook.  Smile.  And next time you get caught in the rain, do not frown.  Dance like Gene Kelly.


Laugh A Bit More And Live A Bit Longer

One of my favourite comedians is the Peter Kay.  He’s from Bolton, near my neck of the woods, in the North West of England.  For those who don’t know who he is, here’s a clip.

Now I know humour doesn’t always translate so apologies to anyone who struggled with the accent and colloquiums, but the video clip is really irrelevant.  Any video clip which made you laugh would have done.  I just liked this one.

So why did I want to share it with you?  Well because laughter is a very powerful antidote to stress.  If you’ve ever tried you will know it is simply impossible to remain angry when you are laughing.  Even my young son knows this because he hates me tickling him when he’s grumpy (“Stop that, I want to be cross”). 

And not only does a really good belly laugh lift your spirits, it has been proven to be a potent tool for self healing! 

How so?

Because when you laugh, the body releases endorphins, the body’s natural stress relievers, which relax you and allow your body to do what it does best – repair itself!

However, when you are stressed, your body cannot release its natural endorphins.  So your body tenses and other functions, such as digestion, become harder to regulate.  As your body works harder to regulate its normal functions, stress takes its toll and aging occurs. 

Laughing overcomes this.  So if you try to laugh more, you will actually help yourself stay younger and healthier. 

I’m not suggesting that you suddenly start to see the funny side of life if you’re a natural pessimist or struggling with depression.  However, dwelling on your feelings of negativity will starve your body of the endorphins it so desperately needs.  In these circumstances, take time out to watch your favourite comedian.  The escapism and the laughter therapy will do you good.  You will enjoy a more robust mental health and a lower your stress levels.

Laugh at least once every day.  Your body will thank you for it.